UN chief deplores Kashmir deaths, offers to help in dialogue

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New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has deplored the deaths in the current unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and also offered his good offices to facilitate dialogue between India and Pakistan to “achieve a negotiated settlement” on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

“I deplore the loss of life and hope that all efforts will be made to avoid further violence,” the UN Secretary-General said in his letter, obtained by IANS.

“I appreciate the continued commitment of Pakistan to the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute for the sake of regional peace and security, as you reaffirmed in your letter,” Ban said in reference to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s letter.

“The United Nations remains convinced that it is only through dialogue that the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, including on Kashmir, can be addressed.”

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“I stand ready to offer my good offices, should it be requested by both sides, to facilitate dialogue in order to achieve a negotiated settlement,” Ban wrote.

In his letter earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif apprised the UN chief about the “deteriorating” situation in Kashmir.

Nearly 70 people have been killed and thousands more injured in the Kashmir Valley in clashes with security forces in the wake of the killing of a prominent Kashmiri separatist Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.

In his letter of August 5, Prime Minister Sharif called for efforts to end the “violation of human rights” of the Kashmiri people and also to “implement the decades old UN Security Council resolutions for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute through a plebiscite”.

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The UN Secretary-General said that he looked forward to meeting the Pakistani leader again during the upcoming 71st session of the UN General Assembly to “discuss matters of common interest”.



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